Weather Channel, DirecTV end months-long tempest

Weather Channel returns to lineup after agreeing to reduce amount of reality TV programming it offers -- a sticking point for the satellite provider. There's no word, though, on whether DirecTV in turn agrees to pay a higher fee.

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Weather Channel

The Weather Channel will return to DirecTV's lineup on Wednesday after a three-month absence caused by a dispute over carriage fees.

Financial details of the settlement between the two companies were not revealed. The Weather Channel had earlier indicated that it was seeking a 1 cent per-subscriber increase in fees. The channel currently receives an average of 13 cents per subscriber per month from pay TV distributors, according to data from market research firm SNL Kagan.

However, the Weather Channel agreed to reduce the amount of reality TV programming it carries, an issue cited by the satellite TV provider when it pulled the channel from its lineup in January.

DirecTV, which serves about 20 million subscribers, said an increase in reality programming resulted in a decrease in weather information. The Weather Channel countered by accusing DirecTV of putting lives at risk by withholding a "critical life-saving community resource" and urged viewers to "demand" that DirecTV bring back its network.

In a joint statement announcing the settlement Tuesday, the Weather Channel apologized for initiating a campaign that sought to involve customers and lawmakers.

"Our apologies to DirecTV and their customers for the disruption of our service and for initiating a public campaign," David Kenny, chief executive of the Weather Co., parent of the Weather Channel, said in the statement. "Our viewers deserve better than a public dispute and we pledge to reward their loyalty with exceptional programming and more weather-focused news."

Like many cable channels, the Weather Channel has recently revamped much of its programming to include so-called reality programming. At the time it removed the channel in January, DirecTV claimed that 40 percent of the channel's programming was dedicated to programs such as "Coast Guard Alaska" and "Prospectors."

Shares of DirecTV were up $2.04 to $78.77, or 2.66 percent, on Tuesday.

 

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